At the height of summer, when the cabins are full and the outhouse is a-filling, nature’s call no longer necessitates noseplugs in Arthur Gibson’s Pogamasing Lake privy. Thanks to an ingenious odour-eating device whipped up by their host, cottage guests can take their time whenever they need to skip to the loo. “I didn’t think it’d work as well as it does,” says Gibson. “But now the people in our camp treat me like a local hero.”
Having witnessed the magical interaction between foul smells and an extinguished match, Gibson reasoned that a similar odour-eliminating principle could be applied in his heavily trafficked outhouse. But rather than masking smells with a puff of sulphur, he’d evict them with the convective action of a burning lantern.
So he cut a hole into the wall of his privy, opening an airway from that netherworld below the backhouse bench to the outside, and connected a 6″-diameter stovepipe T through the back wall. To encourage upward airflow, a half-litre kerosene lamp with a tin-can globe is lit and slid up into the underside of the tee, mounted on a cradle fashioned from scrap plywood and a stovepipe cap.
Two taut bungee cords hold the lantern in place, and any unseemly outhouse odours are whisked up a chimney that runs past the peak of the building and away on the wind. The lantern runs for three days on a single fill-up.
“It’s pretty amazing,” says Arthur. “It keeps that room fresh and clean.”